Sunday, December 14, 2008

Long-Cooked Lamb Shoulder (Page 503)


  • Date: Thursday, December 4, 2008 -- 9pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B-

The Beef, Veal, Pork, and Lamb section of The Book is one of my slowest sections, so I am trying to make more meat! To that end, I made this braised lamb dish a couple weeks ago. I started with a huge lamb shoulder, which I roasted for 30 minutes on top of a bed of onions, garlic, bay leaves and thyme. I seasoned the lamb with salt and pepper and roasted for another 30 minutes. Then I poured two whole bottles of white wine over the lamb shoulder, covered the roasting pan tightly with foil, and put it in the oven to braise for 4 hours. Then I added some potatoes and chopped tomatoes to the pan and braised for another hour and half. Sounds amazing right? I had seriously high hopes for this dish. I love braised meat. Absolutely love it. Perfectly braised meat is falling apart tender, and delicious! And it is nearly impossible to screw it up. In fact, the only way to mess it up is for the liquid you are braising in to be too hot. You want it at a bare simmer (if even that). A rolling boil is not what you are going for. That is exactly why I was surprised to see that this lamb shoulder would be braised in a 425 degree oven. That is extremely hot for braising. The standard oven temperature for braising is 325. You often also see 350 in recipes. But 425? Way too hot. And the final product reflected that. The lamb wasn't nearly as tender as it could have been. It had a bit of toughness to it that braised meat shouldn't have. Disappointing. My other complaint about this dish is that the potatoes and tomatoes didn't add much. In concept it seemed like a great thing. But the potatoes tasted bland, and the tomatoes detracted from the dish in my opinion. This certainly wasn't a bad dish. I ate it. I enjoyed it. But I wouldn't make it again. There are much better braised lamb recipes out there!

This recipe isn't online.

The recipes in The Book are divided into 21 sections. If you go to the Project Index on the right and scroll all the way to the bottom, you can see my progress divided up by section. The section I have nearest to completion is Grains and Beans (95.7% complete) followed closely by Sauces and Salsas (91.5% complete) and Cookies, Bars, and Confections (89.8% complete). Some sections are going much slower. However, this recipe marks a special moment. When this recipe registers on the Project Index, I will have completed 50% or more of the recipes from every single section in The Book! Overall, I have made about 68.5% of the recipes in The Book, so the fact that I am over 50% in every section means that they have been reasonably well distributed. That's good because I don't want to spend the last year of this project eating only Soups, or only Relishes, Chutneys, Pickles, and Preserves! My slowest sections at the moment are Beef, Veal, Pork, and Lamb (50% complete), Poultry (50%) complete, and Fish and Shellfish (50.5%) complete. I have been trying lately to make an effort to cook more from those sections, but all three of them are pretty long, especially Beef, Veal, Pork, and Lamb, with 126 recipes in it! Oh well -- at the end of the project if I have to eat Beef, Veal, Pork, and Lamb three meals a day, that wouldn't be so bad!


Anonymous said...

that looks so incredibly delicious I can't believe it got a B-. If the last twenty recipes look like that I say hurrah!
And don't be surprised if all your crazy anons show up at your door. You should charge admission. I'm game!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like B- typing/proofreading on an A- recipe.

Teena said...

It definitely could be the case that it was a typo...